Last month, Rep. Thomas Massie announced he was launching the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus to pursue an aggressive pro-gun agenda under a hopefully more firearm-friendly President Trump.
This week, he’s already making moves.
Massie introduced the “Safe Students Act” on Monday, which would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.
“The bill, originally introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in 2007, repeals the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990, which makes it ‘unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone,” stated a Massie press release. “In 1995, the Supreme Court held the GFSZA unconstitutional, which prompted Congress to amend the bill in 1996. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of the amended Act.”
Massie said, “Gun-free school zones are ineffective. They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments. Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.”
The Safe Students Act is supported by firearm advocacy groups, including the National Rifle Association, National Association for Gun Rights and Gun Owners of America.
Massie’s legislation has also received support in the past from another big booster — President-elect Donald Trump.
“I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and — you have to — and on military bases,” Trump recently said. “My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There’s no more gun-free zones.”
While accomplishing what Trump promises immediately is highly unlikely, Massie’s legislation would be a first step toward this goal.
While we know of the horrible tragedies of school shootings, data on how the elimination of gun-free zones might make schools safer is not available — because it is an unknown. But we can be reasonably certain gun-free zones are often targets. As Eugene Volokh wrote in the Washington Post in 2015, “Many mass shootings happen in supposedly ‘gun-free’ zones (such as schools, universities, bars, or private property posted with a no-guns sign), in which gun carrying isn’t allowed in many states.”
Massie sees no safety benefit in maintaining these gun-free zone laws.
“Weapons bans and gun-free zones are unconstitutional,” he said. “They do not and cannot prevent criminals or the mentally ill from committing acts of violence.”
“But they often prevent victims of such violence from protecting themselves,” Massie concluded.